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The Celebration of Death in Contemporary Culture
  • Dina Khapaeva, Georgia Institute of Technology
The Celebration of Death in Contemporary Culture investigates the emergence and meaning of the cult of death. Over the last three decades, Halloween has grown to rival Christmas in its popularity. Dark tourism has emerged as a rapidly expanding industry. “Corpse chic” and “skull style” have entered mainstream fashion, while elements of gothic, horror, torture porn, and slasher movies have streamed into more conventional genres. Monsters have become pop culture heroes: vampires, zombies, and serial killers now appeal broadly to audiences of all ages. This book breaks new ground by viewing these phenomena as aspects of a single movement and documenting its development in contemporary Western culture.

This book links the mounting demand for images of violent death with dramatic changes in death-related social rituals. It offers a conceptual framework that connects observations of fictional worlds—including The Twilight SagaThe Vampire Diaries, and the Harry Potter series—with real-world sociocultural practices, analyzing the aesthetic, intellectual, and historical underpinnings of the cult of death. It also places the celebration of death in the context of a longstanding critique of humanism and investigates the role played by 20th-century French theory, posthumanism, transhumanism, and the animal rights movement in shaping the current antihumanist atmosphere.
  • cult of death,
  • human exceptionalism,
  • animal rights,
  • transhumanism,
  • posthumanism,
  • Harry Potter,
  • death rituals,
  • French Theory
Publication Date
Spring March 6, 2017
The University of Michigan Press
Citation Information
Dina Khapaeva. The Celebration of Death in Contemporary Culture. hardcoverAnn Arbor(2017)
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